High School Debaters Grapple with Organ Donation

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Throughout April, high school debaters nationwide will engage in conversations that highlight the dire need for organ, eye and tissue donors as part of the National Forensic League’s Public Forum Debates.

Throughout April, high school debaters nationwide will engage in conversations that highlight the dire need for organ, eye and tissue donors as part of the National Forensic League’s Public Forum Debates. The topic, selected through a national vote involving more than 2,000 high schools in every state, will address whether financial incentives are appropriate for organ donations. The debates coincide with National Donate Life Month, which celebrates organ, eye and tissue donation and recognizes the need to increase donation, as thousands of people die every year waiting for a lifesaving transplant because the demand for transplants far outpaces the current level of donation in this country.

Public Forum Debate, which seeks to incorporate community members into rounds, is the nation’s most popular high school debate event. Public Forum debaters research both sides of monthly topics, obtaining information from public policy experts, journalists, academics, and partnership organizations to formulate arguments. Throughout the process, debaters, educators, and audiences become more informed about critically important social issues such as organ donation.

April’s Public Forum debates are offered in partnership with Donate Life America and Save Lives Now New York. Donate Life America is a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation. Donate Life America manages and promotes the national brand for donation, Donate Life, and assists Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries; developing and executing effective multi-media donor education programs; and motivating the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors. For more information, visit http://www.donatelife.net.

Save Lives Now New York is the first and only not-for-profit New York entity focused on exploring public policy initiatives to increase the supply of organs available for life-saving transplants. Save Lives Now New York believes the current donation system in New York based on altruistic donation has unfortunately failed and needs immediate change. New York State ranks last in the nation with only an 11% sign-up rate on the state's donor registry. With over 10,000 New Yorkers on the waiting list in literally a "life and death" waiting game, something different must clearly be done to deal with the organ shortage crisis.

Save Lives Now New York was co-founded by the father of a former Public Forum debater at Regis High School in New York City. To learn more about the organization or become involved in supporting its mission, please contact its Executive Director at TedLawson(at)SLNNY(dot)com.

About the National Forensic League
The NFL is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit honorary society whose mission is to promote high school and middle school speech and debate activities as a means to develop a student’s essential life skills and values. More than 112,000 high school and middle school students, representing more than 2,900 schools nationwide, are currently building their communication, leadership, cognitive, and presentational skills as members. Since 1925, more than 1.3 million students have found their voice in the NFL. For more information, visit http://www.NFLonline.org.

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Jennifer Billman

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